Looming hurricane season adds to fears of compounded emergency during pandemic

Double disaster: severe weather and coronavirus pandemic

Gulf Hurricane

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are shuttered in their homes, typically busy streets are nearly empty, food and supplies are flying off the shelves, and only the most essential activities and services are given the go-ahead to continue as usual.

Emergency management specialists agree the effects of a pandemic are comparable to a hurricane. The American Meteorological Society went as far as to say the coronavirus pandemic is the equivalent of the entire nation being hit with a Category 5 hurricane.

But specialists are facing the fact the pandemic situation could become a double disaster as hurricane season officially starts on June 1.

The Miami Herald reported Florida’s U.S. senators called on the federal government Wednesday to issue guidelines on how states should handle evacuations and storm shelters in the event of a hurricane.

A double disaster could turn triple threat as forecaster expects the tropics to generate an above-average storm season.

This means everyone caught in the cross-hairs of a deadly storm could be faced with a tough decision: go to a shelter and risk the chance of being exposed to coronavirus, or stay home and take their chances that the weather will spare them.

The American Meteorological Society released an official statement on the matter, saying, “Do not let the virus prevent you from seeking refuge from a tornado. If a public tornado shelter is your best available refuge from severe weather, take steps to ensure you follow CDC guidelines for physical distancing and disease prevention.”

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